When is it ok to free range?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickenrandomness, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. my 4 chicks are 7 weeks old, they're getting very big!!! they know where their food and water is, plus they go to bed into the coop at night by themselves.

    when is it ok to let them free range? there are bunches of little holes under the fence that the chickens could get under, plus the neighboors cat thinks my yard is it's yard. if a chick managed to get into my neighboors yard, they're dog would be a big problem. the chicks run from me some times and don't like to be picked up that much. when should i let them free range?

  2. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I would set up a temporary pen for free ranging, as it's VERY possible your very curious chicks will get away. I started free ranging my chicks in the backyard for a few hours a day at 3 or 4 weeks while supervised. Now they are turning 9 weeks old and free range for several hours a day when I'm home. Everything in my backyard is sealed, but the biggest danger was predators as we have a lot of hawks in the area. So far no losses! And now they've learned to run for the coop when they see a large bird overhead.
  3. pat1297

    pat1297 In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2010
    orange park
    Although I am new at this, I let my 6 girls free range at 8 wks. They are pretty good sized and they pretty much stay under cover of the shrubs and flowers most of the time. They go running for cover when they hear of see something loud or fast moving, so I feel pretty comfortable with them in the yard. I posted an owl on a post in the yard, got it at Walmart, heard that might help frighten the hawks.
  4. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Songster

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I free ranged my two boys from 8 weeks old and they were fine. And I mean totally free range - no pens, fences, walls etc. I'm on a farm and all my chickens are entirely free to come and go as they please. But I tend to find that until they get used to their surroundings, they don't go very far. My first eight chickens hid inside their coop with an open door for two weeks before they would even stick their heads outside into the run! I got them from a breeder that kept all his birds in giant barns though, so they had never been outdoors before. My first chicks went in the adult coop at 7 weeks, separated from the other birds with some chicken wire down the middle so they didn't get pecked on too bad, and they started going outside into the run at about 10 weeks. The door from the run to the great outdoors was open but they didn't really go out and nose around till they were about 12 weeks old or so. My two boys were desperate to get out though so I just let them loose at 8 weeks.

    I think maybe it depends a lot on the breed - how brave they are and how much they went to go exploring...

  5. If you're nervous, (like I was) let them out 1/2 hour before dark. They'll go home when it's dark, and you get a feel for how easy or hard it will be.
  6. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    I free range my chicks from about 8 weeks. Living in Wales the predators are different, but crows, buzzards etc. and the fox feeding cubs can take chicks by day if we are not careful.

    I always free range the chicks with the rest of the flock ,Brahma roosters(chick friendly) included to reduce risks.

    I always make sure they are tucked up in the coop at nightfall.


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